Grey of Fallodon

Grey of Fallodon

Grey of Fallodon

Grey of Fallodon

Excerpt

One day, shortly after the end of the War, Grey asked me to lunch at Queen Anne's Gate, on the ground that he had been reading my Life of his kinsman, that other Lord Grey who passed the Reform Bill. But, as I expected, our conversation ran at once into birds and Wordsworth, and never once escaped from those well-worn channels. No word was spoken of the Reformer until, as my host loomed above me on the door step, he remembered and said: 'Oh, yes, I wanted to talk to you about old Lord Grey. People used to praise him and Lord Althorp because they were such fine fellows and passed such a good Bill. Then they used to say it was such a pity that Grey always wanted to be away in Northumberland, and Althorp in Northamptonshire. But that was just the reason why they did so well whenever they were in London.' We both laughed, and I replied, 'If I live to know your biographer, I will tell him you said so.'

Nevertheless, though they both counted the precious hours that they could spend in Northumberland, there were differences between the former and the latter Grey both in character and in fate. The old patriarch of Howick had forty years of pleasant waiting in opposition, mostly spent in rural and domestic bliss, followed by three years of office with the resounding triumph that made his name immortal at one stroke. Edward Grey, after twenty years of great and quiet happiness, had eleven consecutive years at the head of the Foreign Office -- years of agony such as none of his predecessors since Castlereagh had had to face -- fighting the long losing battle for European peace, suffering the defeat of . . .

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